The number one, best thing you can do to avoid your property staying vacant is to be sure that your property is desirable. If you are looking to invest in a property specifically for rental purposes, be sure that you are checking out the area and making sure that it is a place the demographic you have chosen, would want to live in.
If you answer this question honestly, and the answer is no, that they likely wouldn’t want to live there, please don’t invest in that property, no matter how great the deal is! If your property is going to stay vacant, it’s not a good deal in the long-run.
Another consideration is to make sure that there aren’t tons of other rental properties in that specific area. If there are, make sure that your home offers something the others don’t. If your property is generic, and just like the others, you need to find a different rental property to invest in.
Be sure to have a “For Rent” sign in the front yard. So many properties are rented this way. People who have a friend, a friend of a friend, or a family member, are always on the lookout for them when they know they need a rental.
However, they aren’t going to go out on a limb for the person and search apartments. They are more than willing to write a phone number down when they are driving and see an available property. Even more important, is to list the price next to the phone number. If they don’t see the price next to it, they usually won’t go to the effort of calling.
Right when your tenants move, you should begin repairs on the property. Before they move, you should have as good of a list as you can of repairs you think may need to be done that way you know what you need to tackle.
Be sure to price the property realistically. You don’t want to lose money on not renting it due to a high rental price but you also don’t want to lose money with it rented at a price lower than what it is worth. A landlord will often price it lower because they are desperate to rent, and then they get a slew of phone calls after it is rented, and then kick themselves in the foot for making that mistake. On the flip side, some landlords think that their property is worth much more than it is, and so it stays empty for a long time. See: What To Do When Your Tenant Wants to Negotiate a Lower Rent
The internet is your best source to advertise these days. Add a “For Rent” sign with the phone number and price. There are many times that people see a phone number without the price, and ignore it altogether because its a hassle.
Try to give the tenant something that will make they want to stay in your rental even longer, such as throwing in free water, or free gas. The point is to find tenants that you know will be there for quite a while, to avoid dealing with turnover. For further reading: How Evictions Work; What Landlords Need to Know – NOLO